Chasing Light: Daybreak

The crazy old dead lodgepole pines still sanding at a few landmark spots in Summit County have become part of the forest aesthetic. But once they've succumbed to beetles, nearly all of them will eventually fall, often snapping off a couple of feet off the ground.

As a photographer, I say good riddance to daylight savings time! I feel like my body is more in synch with the natural rhythms of sunrise and sunset, and for the next couple of months, I can get out and photograph sunrise BEFORE it’s time to get my teenager out of bed and on his way to school. And if it’s the weekend, all the better, with just a bit more time to catch the sunrise afterglow.

After I chose the images in this set, I realized that two of the three prominently feature lodgepole pines that fell to the “scourge” of mountain pine beetles. There was concern, early during the insect outbreak, that dead and dying forests could affect tourism and property values in Colorado mountain resort towns, but it’s amazing how fast people can adjust their aesthetic framework. I regularly include beetle-killed trees in landscape photos. So many lodgepole groves have been wiped out over the last few years that it’s hard not to, and it helps keep me humble, knowing that we haven’t figured out all the ancient forest mysteries yet.